Fewer Teens Using and Approving Marijuana

More teens are saying "no" to weed, says new research. 

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Following the trend that less teens are drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, a long-term study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse reveals decreases in both the use and approval of marijuana among adolescents.

Based on the research, 6 percent of younger teens (ages 12-14) reported having used marijuana in 2002. By 2013, the rate dropped to 4.5 percent. But not only are fewer teens using the drug; more teens are disapproving. In the 11 years from 2002-2013, the marijuana disapproval rate among young adolescents jumped from 74 to 79 percent.

Older teens (ages 15-17) demonstrated no change in approval of the drug, but they mirrored the decreased usage trend of their younger counterparts, with their use sinking from 26 percent in 2002 to 22 percent in 2013.

Christopher Salas-Wright, a social work professor at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the study, claimed that the findings are not necessarily a result of any political context:

“Our results may suggest that recent changes in public policy, including the decriminalization, medicalization and legalization of marijuana in cities and states across the country, have not resulted in more use or greater approval of marijuana use among younger adolescents.”

A study coauthor from Saint Louis University’s School of Social Work, Michael Vaughn, elaborated:

“Recent policy changes and increasing exposure to marijuana as perhaps normative or no longer immoral may be influencing how young adults feel about others using marijuana, but not necessarily impacting their own use.”

Regardless of reason, any decline in teen perception and use of marijuana is good news, especially considering its destructive effects on developing adolescent brains. In case you know anyone who needs some convincing, here's a list of reasons why teens are wise to avoid weed